B2B Customer Portal: Definition, Benefits, and Examples

Dealing with B2B customers requires a special approach. In today’s digital world, B2B clients are interested in high personalization, stable data access, intuitive UI, and automation that would streamline their routine processes. By using the latest technologies, B2B businesses can meet and exceed such high expectations with the help of B2B customer portals. Read on to explore the types of B2B customer portals, their characteristics, and their advantages for business.

Overview

Why have B2B customer portals won the hearts of business owners? The reason is that they bring multiple benefits to companies. Users can independently view previous orders, manage negotiations, and monitor approvals without the need to directly contact anyone else.

As a result, portals streamline work processes, make them easier and more transparent, as well as reduce expenses. All these key success factors help to increase customer loyalty and return on investments. Continue reading to learn more.

What Is a B2B Digital Customer Portal?

Digital customer B2B portals are either web or mobile digital platforms that allow companies to manage their relations with partners, vendors, and clients. In essence, it is an advanced version of a traditional online store, which simplifies and streamlines the communication and collaborative efforts of companies.

For instance, modern B2B portals can assist in replicating procurement procedures and the digital transformation of sales and customer services. With the help of such B2B portals, businesses can ensure targeted communication with their clientele on the basis of their specific roles and unique customer needs.

What Are the Benefits of B2B Digital Customer Portals?

Benefits-of-B2B-Customer-Portal

The clients of B2B companies are interested in a user-friendly shopping experience irrespective of their physical location and time zone. This means that B2B companies should resort to cutting-edge, advanced technologies in their endeavors to provide their clients with enhanced experiences.

Therefore, B2B digital customer portals are gaining momentum. They have become popular across various business domains as they are extremely customer-oriented and are able to unify sales and service activities on a single platform. Although a lot of companies haven’t tried these solutions yet, there are numerous benefits of B2B digital customer portals.

The best B2B portal examples equip sales and service specialists with advanced digital tools, create real value for clients via digitized offers, and help establish more efficient and controlled procedures. When all the pivotal processes are present in a unified B2B customer portal, there will be multiple advantageous outcomes. Below, we will explore them in more detail.

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Cost-Efficiency

Communication with clients requires monetary investments. Numerous specialists in business development and maintenance departments often repeat similar activities like answering clients’ questions, processing documents, searching for guidelines, etc. All these activities are time-intensive and can cost a pretty penny. Besides, there is always a risk of human errors.

With B2B automated instruments, clients can easily find the necessary data on their own, regardless of their location. Thanks to this level of digitization, personnel can carry out more creative tasks and the whole process of collaboration becomes easier for customers.

Data-Driven Business Decisions

Customer portals are able to collect data about users and their behavior. You also get statistics about the visited pages, ordered items, downloaded materials, and more with the help of a B2B portal. All this helps you to better understand the clientele and make more correct predictions and informed business decisions.

Loyalty and Customer Satisfaction

Convenient services boost customer satisfaction with your company. The majority of B2B clients are accustomed to high levels of digitization in other spheres of life and anticipate the same from B2B companies. When users are happy with personalized services on the online portal, they get more satisfaction with the brand, which results in increased customer loyalty and a high rate of returning clients.

Boosted Sales

On B2B digital portals, you can create personalized customer journeys and adjust offers based on clients’ behavior patterns. There are also tools to make the brand stand out among the industry rivals and become more competitive. All this makes B2B customer portals a powerful force in honing brand identity, increasing customer dwell time, and – finally – boosting sales. 

Why Build Custom Portals for B2B eCommerce Customers?

Why-Build-B2B-Customer-Portals

Businesses should take care of B2B clients and provide them with additional functional features and personalized experience. To achieve this, B2B eCommerce companies should cooperate with their partners, vendors, and customers more closely in order to reveal clients’ individual needs, peculiarities, and everyday procedures.

Building custom B2B eCommerce customer portals requires a lot of time. Usually, it takes from six months to two years. The process takes so long due to the complexity of the customized features, which should be in line with both your and your customer’s business processes.

Nonetheless, creating a custom B2B customer portal yields multiple benefits for B2B eCommerce clients. The key advantages of such portals include:

  • More online presence for B2B customers
  • Increased convenience and data accessibility
  • High customization based on the individual needs and requirements of clients
  • Individual offers and promos useful for their business
  • Better understanding of a client’s business
  • Analytics and insights on the enhancement of the customer portal
  • Clear processes and transparency in collaboration
  • More productivity and efficiency
  • Increased B2B customer loyalty

Types of Customer Portals

Types-of-B2B-Customer-Portals

Customer Portals by Access

It is possible to differentiate customer portals depending on the way the clients can access them. For example, we can highlight the following types:

  • Public portals – are easily opened via a direct link and allow visitors to freely register or access the content. 
  • Private portals – can be accessed only by the invitation of admins. Otherwise, it is not possible to open and use a portal. 
  • Restricted portals – provide an opportunity to register and access the portal after the admin’s personal approval.

Customer Portal by Use Case

  • For Reselling and Distributing. Distribution and wholesaling often implies a network of collaborating partners. Customer portals offer great benefits to the partners in comparison with regular eCommerce solutions:
    • Limited permissions, encryption, and safe cloud storage help increase the security of regular processes and protect confidential user data. 
    • With personalization and relationship management tools, companies can configure automated discounts and personalized bonuses to make customers more loyal to the brands they order. 
    • B2B customer portals allow traceability of all user actions. Being able to track the activity of the partners, you can optimize all the important processes and prevent inconveniences.
  • Custom Partner Portals. Personalized portals are of primary importance when companies want to increase client satisfaction with their services. To effectively manage their one-of-a-kind account data, branded design, unique prices, and business-specific services, companies can build separate customer B2B portals for every big client they work with.

With SaM Solutions’ ecommerce developers, you build a digital retail ecosystem that becomes your business’ key sales channel.

Why You Should Choose SaM Solutions as Your B2B Portal Development Provider

SaM Solutions has decades of experience in building business portals to boost revenue, minimize expenses, enhance collaboration and increase loyalty. With our cutting-edge portals, you can streamline business processes, simplify access to products and services, and substantially upgrade customer satisfaction.

We comply with the industry’s best practices to meet your business goals and create an outstanding solution that fits your business needs perfectly.

SaM Solutions has established transparent processes that allow our customers to keep up with the project development. During all stages of the project, we closely communicate with our customers and provide regular reports on the progress made. Due to our smooth and coherent processes, you achieve quality results within the set deadline.

Essential Features of B2B eCommerce Portal

Features-of-B2B-Customer-Portals

Personalized User Experience

The eCommerce businesses that have introduced personalized features into their strategy are more likely to succeed in the industry rivalry.

The initial step in the personalization of B2B eCommerce solutions is to create a custom design. It’s best to follow the partner’s brand book when designing a user interface. This way, you acknowledge their individual style and harness good business relationships.

Appropriate user experience is among crucial features and tips for B2B clients too, as a B2B portal should reflect partners’ established business processes. This will simplify business partners’ routines, and they will get a more satisfying experience.

Access for Multiple Users

Access for multiple users to the portal is almost always an obvious necessity. But it’s important to create different permission levels that will depend on a user’s role and defined scope of responsibilities. Limited permissions will help increase security and optimize the workflow, as the specialists that are not directly involved in certain processes would not be able to view them and get distracted by them on their dashboards.

Automated Ordering

Sometimes partners are interested in regularly repeating the same orders and can benefit from automation. You can talk to your partners and decide that certain orders should reiterate every week, month, or any other period of time that’s convenient for them. This way, the process of ordering becomes automated and you save your partners the need to ask for the same types of products over and over again.

Integrations

To ensure smooth UX for all partners, it’s important to integrate a B2B portal with partners’ individual IT environments and third-party applications. Effective integration provides a long-term value of B2B customer portal. The most important goal is to make sure integration improves the collaboration with your partners and is in line with their established procedures and workflows.

Let’s consider the popular solutions B2B partners will need integration with:

  • Accounting software. It is possible to make accounting activities easier thanks to the integration with various bookkeeping software products that your B2B partners use. For example, you can send your invoice via the portal and your partner will get it directly in their bookkeeping system.
  • Banking systems. If partners make repeated orders, the system can charge their accounts or cards in a self-operating way without any human interaction.
  • Inventories. When users order items, make payments, and ship products, the progress should be properly reflected in the partner’s inventories. Constant control and monitoring help prevent delays in delivery.
  • Logistics. You can automate the processes so that when the goods leave warehouses, they would be automatically reflected in the system. As a result, your B2B customers can easily track the physical location and state of their goods.

Self-Service Options

There may be cases when businesses have to reshape their procedural workflows. For example, the job requirements for some key positions involved in a project may change, or the processes may be improved to increase productivity. 

If this happens, partners would be happy to have an opportunity to edit the configurations manually without the need to ask you for help. To grant them this level of independence, set up self-service options.

Targeted Promos

All B2B eCommerce partners have their peculiarities in terms of their domains and other specific characteristics. With a portal, you can make sure that partners receive special offers and promos based on their brand specifics or individual services. Your partners will definitely appreciate such personalization, as every message they receive will be relevant for them and geared toward yielding more benefits.

Advanced Analytics

Although it is not the first functionality that customers may look for, and it would not be used on a daily basis, analytics is the feature that makes the B2B customer portal valuable long-term. With this tool, you can get a clearer view of customers’ behavior, needs, and issues.

Analytics will provide you with insight into the hurdles that your users encounter and suggest possible improvements to overcome them. After a comprehensive analysis of customer data, you’ll understand how to enhance the interaction with partners and grow your businesses further. In addition, you can make questionnaires and heatmaps, or carry out split tests that will help you know more about your customers’ preferences.

Conclusion

B2B eCommerce customer portals are becoming more and more popular. This tendency continues as B2B customer experience is enhanced with a higher level of personalization and more advanced tools. Customer portals offer added value to clients, which results in streamlined administrative processes, more stable data accessibility, and increased customer loyalty.

FAQ
Can I track the customers' activity on the portal?

Sure. It is possible to monitor customer activity and then analyze it for insight into making improvements.

What are some of the B2B customer portal best practices?

The best practices for a B2B customer portal include adding such components as product availability details, pricing, bulk and repeat ordering, tracking of orders, multiple online payment options, and introducing access permissions.

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